Background: Adenoviruses (Ads) cause continuous outbreaks of acute respiratory disease (ARD) in US military training facilities. In 1996, the loss of vaccines targeting the dominant recruit-associated serotypes precipitated the reemergence of Ads in these populations. Between 1999 and 2002, serotype 4 accounted for >95% of Ads isolated from recruits and for >50% of ARD cases in training facilities (15,000 cases/year).
Methods: Ads (n=1867) collected between 2002 and 2006 from recruits with ARD at 8 military training facilities in the United States were serotyped by serum neutralization and polymerase chain reaction.
Results: The dominance of Ad4 continued through 2005, followed by a simultaneous emergence of diverse species B serotypes at the majority of sites. This included the subspecies B1 serotypes 3, 7, and 21 and the subspecies B2 serotype 14. Ad14 was the most prevalent species B serotype, appearing in high numbers at 3 sites and becoming dominant at 1.
Conclusions: Subspecies B2 Ads have rarely been associated with ARD, and only in Eurasia. This survey represents the first report of AdB2-associated ARD in the Western Hemisphere. The simultaneous emergence of several species B Ads suggests a common external source (the civilian population) and a decrease in preexisting immunity to species B Ads.